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Vitamins—dietary intake and intake from dietary supplements in Germany


Objective: To analyse the current vitamin intake and the contribution of dietary supplements to this intake of 4030 participants of the German Nutrition Survey (GeNuS) 1998, which was part of the representative German National Health Interview and Examination Survey (GNHIES), conducted from October 1997 until March 1999.

Design: In the GeNuS participants were interviewed comprehensively about their usual diet and supplementation patterns using a modified dietary history.

Setting: Population-based nutritional survey.

Subjects: A subsample of 4030 persons, aged 18–79 y, randomly selected from the GNHIES 1998.

Results: The contribution of dietary supplements to the vitamin intake reached 5% for vitamin E among men and 6% for vitamin C among women. Among the group of regular users, the contribution to the vitamin E intake is 36% among men and 43% among women. A substantial part of the population does not reach the current recommendations for some vitamins, especially for folate and vitamin E through their diet alone. Among regular supplement users, about one-third for folate and about half for the other vitamins reach the recommended intake only when supplemental intake is considered. Among the regular users of folate supplements, this proportion is about half.

Conclusion: If reference values are used as preference intake, a substantial population part improves their vitamin intake by taking supplements regularly. Nevertheless, there are persons who stay below the reference values including supplemental intake or already consume more than 100% of recommendation excluding supplemental intake.

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Beitz, R., Mensink, G., Fischer, B. et al. Vitamins—dietary intake and intake from dietary supplements in Germany. Eur J Clin Nutr 56, 539–545 (2002).

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